The data you create are a vital part of the scientific research process and should be properly cited if reused or referred to in any publication or other output. This means that you get credit for the data you produce and can track how it is being re-used over time.

Data citation: 

  • acknowledges the author's sources 

  • makes identifying and finding data easier 

  • promotes the reproduction of research results 

  • allows the impact of data to be tracked 

  • provides a structure which recognises and can reward data creators 

A citation should include enough information so that the exact version of the data being cited can be located. Including a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) in the citation provides a permanent link to information about the data, including how to correctly cite and access it. 

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An example of a recommended citation is:

Boyes, D.H.; Evans, D.M.; Fox, R.; Parsons, M.S.; Pocock, M.J.O. (2021). Caterpillar activity under experimentally manipulated light conditions, Oxfordshire, UK, winter 2019. NERC EDS Environmental Information Data Centre.

Many journal publishers now require data to be citeable and held in a recognised repository. The Environmental Data Service (EDS), in collaboration with the British Library and DataCite, provide citation services for environmental science data and our Environmental Data Centres are included in publisher's lists of recommended repositories.

Data must meet a certain standard and be held by a NERC Environmental Data Centre before a DOI can be minted. This process takes varying amounts of time depending on the data and scientific domain.

The full NERC EDS DOI Policy can be read here.

If you are thinking of publishing your research, please get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can advise you on how to obtain a DOI for your data.

For more information, read our Guidelines for researchers.